Autologous reconstruction and visceral transplantation for management of patients with gut failure after bariatric surgery: 20 years of experience

Kareem M. Abu-Elmagd*, Guilherme Costa, David McMichael, Ajai Khanna, Ruy J. Cruz, Neha Parekh, Masato Fujiki, Koji Hashimoto, Cristiano Quintini, Darlene A. Koritsky, Matthew D. Kroh, Hiroshi Sogawa, Ahmed Kandeel, Jose Renan Da Cunha-Melo, Ezra Steiger, Donald Kirby, Laura Matarese, Abdullah Shatnawei, Abhinav Humar, R. Matthew WalshPhilip R. Schauer, Richard Simmons, Timothy Billiar, John Fung

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Objective: Bariatric surgery (BS) is currently the most effective treatment for severe obesity. However, these weight loss procedures may result in the development of gut failure (GF) with the need for total parenteral nutrition (TPN). This retrospective study is the first to address the anatomic and functional spectrum of BS-associated GF with innovative surgical modalities to restore gut function. Methods: Over 2 decades, 1500 adults with GF were referred with history of BS in 142 (9%). Of these, 131 (92%) were evaluated and received multidisciplinary care. GF was due to catastrophic gut loss (Type-I, 42%), technical complications (Type-II, 33%), and dysfunctional syndromes (Type-III, 25%). Primary bariatric procedures were malabsorptive (5%), restrictive (19%), and combined (76%). TPN duration ranged from 2 to 252 months. Results: Restorative surgery was performed in 116 (89%) patients with utilization of visceral transplantation as a rescue therapy in 23 (20%). With a total of 317 surgical procedures, 198 (62%) were autologous reconstructions; 88 (44%) foregut, 100 (51%) midgut, and 10 (5%) hindgut. An interposition alimentary conduit was used in 7 (6%) patients. Reversal of BS was indicated in 84 (72%) and intestinal lengthening was required in 10 (9%). Cumulative patient survival was 96% at 1 year, 84% at 5 years, and 72% at 15 years. Nutritional autonomy was restored in 83% of current survivors with persistence or relapse of obesity in 23%. Conclusions: GF is a rare but serious life-threatening complication after BS. Successful outcome is achievable with comprehensive management, including reconstructive surgery and visceral transplantation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)586-601
Number of pages16
JournalAnnals of surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Autologous reconstruction
  • Bariatric surgery
  • Complications
  • Gut failure
  • Internal hernia
  • Interposition alimentary conduit
  • Nutritional autonomy
  • Obesity surgery
  • Reversal of gastric bypass
  • Survival outcome
  • Total parental nutrition
  • Vascular thrombosis
  • Visceral transplantation
  • Weight reduction surgery


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